The guide to completing a risk assessment for your event or exhibition

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What are risk assessments?

Risk assessments are documents that detail you have identified and analysed risks associated with your event. You must assess all aspects of your event, from identifying health and safety hazards right through to fire risks. The risk assessment will then detail suggested ways to minimise or eliminate the risks you’ve spotted.

It might seem like unnecessary admin, but it’s important to evidence you have considered all risks associated with your event. If something does go wrong, you’re then able to show you’ve taken all necessary steps to mitigate accidents or incidents.

Our risk assessment checklist ensures you’re up to date with the latest legislation, so your event can run smoothly while being totally compliant.

What should be included in my risk assessment?

Risk assessments shouldn’t just cover what happens during your event – in fact, at this stage you should be undertaking an additional risk assessment review. The real key is to plan for every element of your event: planning, set-up, event and event breakdown. This way, you’ll be able to identify all risks at a very early stage and plan your event accordingly.

Our Event and Exhibitions Risk Assessment Template covers the identification and risk management of:

  • Construction and derig of stand or structures
  • Working at height
  • Electricity and electrical appliances
  • Fire
  • Manual handling
  • Hazardous substances
  • Children on site
  • Terrorist activity, threat or attack
  • Slips, trips and falls

The template also demonstrates how to measure the risk from low to very high, and suggests ways to minimise risk. Each event and exhibition will have individual risks so it’s important to complete the template as thoroughly as possible. If you need any assistance, contact our specialist risk management team.

Do I need to complete a risk assessment to get insurance for my event?

Insurers will ask if you have completed a risk assessment, with many insisting on them being carried out as a requirement of the policy. It’s always beneficial to demonstrate you’re taking risk management seriously. Should the worst happen, your risk assessments could help to reduce a liability claim as you’ll be able to show you identified the issue and did all you reasonably could to prevent it.

If you’re a venue – make sure all events managed either within your organisation or by external event organisers have thorough risk assessments and insurance cover.

If you’re an event organiser, same goes – though the venue may have its own risk assessments and cover, you’ll need to have your own too as the venue’s policy won’t cover all of your potential risks.

What happens if I don’t have a risk assessment and something goes wrong?

Simply put, you’ll be breaking the law. Failure to carry out adequate risk assessments will leave you liable for injury or incidents. And you can expect repercussions and potentially fines from the HSE if you don’t comply with health and safety laws. 

Risk assessments are a legal requirement for employers or self-employed people. So you absolutely must carry out a risk assessment to identify any potential hazards or risks if anyone is working on your event (which, chances are, they will be).

It’s also a legal requirement to conduct a fire safety risk assessment. You’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve taken adequate fire safety measures to ensure the safety of your employees and guests. For example – have you identified potential fire risks? Do you have an evacuation plan for the worst case scenario?

Do I need a risk assessments for voluntary activity?

Whether you’re working with volunteers rather than employees, or a voluntary organisation altogether, it’s still imperative to carry out a risk assessment. You still have a duty of care to volunteers. And you’ll still need to be compliant with health and safety legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Voluntary groups with no employees don’t technically have to conduct risk assessments – but if you want to meet the duty of care we mentioned above, we’d recommend it.

Download our Event and Exhibition Risk Assessment template here

If you need any further advice on completing the risk assessment, or want to chat to a risk management expert get in touch with the Insure Our Event team.

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